Tag Archives: Litvak history

Litvak Studies

Draft Syllabus for a New Study Program

Compiled by Dovid Katz



O:   Introductory References

I:   Lithuanian Jewish Culture

II:   Lithuanian Jewish History

III:   Vilna Studies

IV:   Interwar Lithuanian Republic Studies

V:   Language

VI:   Religion

VII.:  PoliticsI

VIII.:   The Lithuanian Shtetl

IX:   Yiddish Literature

X.:  Hebrew Literature

XI:  Litvak Art

XII:  Litvak Folksong and Music

XIII:   The Holocaust in Lithuania

O: Introductory References

The Yivo Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe. Editor in Chief: Gershon David Hundert. 2 vols. Yale University Press: New Haven & London 2008.

The Jewish People Past and Present. 4 vols. Jewish Encyclopedic Handbooks: New York 1946-1955.

I: Lithuanian Jewish Culture

David E. Fishman, The Rise of Modern Yiddish Culture. University of Pittsburgh Press: Pittsburgh 2005 [see esp chapters 3, 4, 8-10; pp 48-61, 91-93, 114-137, 142-152 et al].  Order here;  2010 Paperback edition here.

Dovid Katz, Lithuanian Jewish Culture. Baltos Lankos, Vilnius 2010 [in cooperation with Central European University Press]. Order here.

Dovid Katz, “Jewish Cultural Correlates of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania” in Alfredas Bumblauskas, Sarunas Liekis, Grigorijus Potasenko (eds), Lietuvos Didziosios Kunigaikstijos tradicija ir paveldo “dalybos”,Vilniaus universiteto leidykla: Vilnius 2008, pp 169-204.  Available here.

Dovid Katz, Seven Kingdoms of the Litvaks. International Cultural Program Center, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania: Vilnius 2009.   Read here.

Dovid Katz,  Words on Fire. The Unfinished Story of Yiddish. Revised & updated edition. Basic Books: New York 2007 [re Litvak Studies see pp 134-136, 141, 145-154, 149, 151, 153, 166, 164-172, 193, 200, 230, 261, 284, 286-288, 306, 323, 327, 331, 352, 356, 384-386].  Order here.

Izraelis Lempertas and Larisa Lempertiene (eds), The Gaon of Vilnius and the Annals of Jewish Culture. Vilnius University Publishing House: Vilnius 1998.

Mark N. Ozer, The Litvak Legacy. [Self published?acking in standard-grade accreditation to sources including plagiarism of maps]: USA[?] 2009.

II: Lithuanian Jewish History

Shmuel A. Arthur Cygielman, The Jews of Poland and Lithuania up to the Middle of the 17th Century: in Paint, Stone and Parchment. Feldheim 2006.  Order here.

Masha Greenbaum, The Jews of Lithuania. A History of a Remarkable Community 1316-1945. Gefen Publishing House: Jerusalem & Hewlett, NY 1995.  Order here.

Gershon David Hundert, Jews in Poland-Lithuania in the Eighteenth Century. A Genealogy of Modernity. University of California Press: Berkeley 2006.  Order here.

Dov Levin, The Litvaks. A Short History of the Jews in Lithuania. Yad Vashem: Jerusalem 2000.  Order here.

Ezra Mendelsohn, The Jews of East Central Europe between the World Wars.  Indiana University Press: Bloomington 1987.  Order here.

Antony Polonsky, The Jews in Russia and Poland. Vol 1: 1350 to 1881. Vol II: 1881 to 1914. Vol III: 1914 to the Present Day. Littman Library of Jewish Civilization: London 2010 etc.  Order vols I & II here and here. Vol III in press.

III: Vilna Studies

Laimonas Briedis, Vilnius. City of Strangers. Central European University Press: Budapest 2009.  Order here.

Israel Cohen, Vilna. Introduction by Esther Hautzig. Jewish Publication Society: Philadelphia & Jerusalem 1992 [image reprint of Philadelphia 1943 edition].  Order here.

Lucy S. Dawidowicz, From That Time and Place. A Memoir, 1938-1947. Bantam Books: New York 1991.  Order here.

David E. Fishman, The Rise of Modern Yiddish Culture. University of Pittsburgh Press: Pittsburgh 2005 [see esp chapters 3, 4, 8-10; pp 48-61, 91-93, 114-137, 142-152 et al].  Order here;  2010 Paperback edition here.

David E. Fishman, The Book Smugglers: Partisans, Poets, and the Race to Save Jewish Treasures from the Nazis. ForeEdge 2017. Order here.

Dovid Katz, Windows to a Lost Jewish Past. Vilna Book Stamps. Versus Aureus: Vilnius 2008.  Order here.

Rachel Kostanian-Danzig, Spiritual Resistance in the Vilna Ghetto. Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum: Vilnius 2002.  Order here.

Joanna Lisek, Jung Wilne. Żydowska grupa artystyczna. Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego: Wrocław 2005.

Czeslaw Milosz, Beginning with my Streets: Essays and Recollections. Farrar, Straus & Giroux: New York 1992.  Order here.

Leyzer Ran, Ash fun Yerusholáyem d’Líte. New York 1959.

Leyzer Ran, Jerusalem of Lithuania. Illustrated and Documented. 3 vols [text in Yiddish, English, Hebrew and Russian]. Vilno Album Committee: New York 1974.

N. N. Shneidman, Jerusalem of Lithuania. The Rise and Fall of Jewish Vilnius. A Personal Perspective.Mosaic Press: Oakville, Ontario & Buffalo, NY 1998.  Order here.

Tomas Venclova, Vilnius. A Personal History. Sheep Meadow 2009.  Order here.

IV: Interwar Lithuanian Republic

Masha Greenbaum, The Jews of Lithuania. A History of a Remarkable Community 1316-1945. Gefen Publishing House: Jerusalem & Hewlett, NY 1995.  Order here.

Dovid Katz, Virtual Mini-Museum of Jewish Life in Interwar Lithuania. Online here.

Ch. Leikowicz (ed), Lite (Lithuania), vol. 2.Y. L. Peretz Farlag: Tel Aviv 1965 [in Yiddish].

Dov Levin, The Litvaks. A Short History of the Jews in Lithuania. Yad Vashem: Jerusalem 2000.  Order here.

Mendel Sudarsky, Uriah Katzenelenbogen, J. Kissin (eds), Lite (Lithuania). Kultur-gezelshaft fun Litvishe yidn: New York 1951 [in Yiddish].

Yahadut Lita. Four volume encyclopeida. Vol 1: Am Hesefer: Tel Aviv 1959; Vol. II: Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel, Tel Aviv 1972; Vol. III: Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel, Tel Aviv 1967; Vol. IV: Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel: Tel Aviv 1984 [in Hebrew].

V: Language

Yudl Mark, ‘Undzer Litvisher Yidish’ [‘Our Lithuanian Yiddish’] in Mendel Sudarsky, Uriah Katzenelenbogen, J. Kissin (eds), Lite (Lithuania). Vol 1, Kultur-gezelshaft fun Litvishe yidn: New York 1951, pp 429-472.

Max Weinreich, History of the Yiddish Language. Edited by Paul Glasser. Translated [from the Yiddish] with the assistance of Joshua A. Fishman. 2 vols. Yale University Press: New Haven & London. In cooperation with YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

Uriel Weinreich, ‘Sabesdiker losn in Yiddish: A Problem of Linguistic Affinity’ in Word 8: 360-377. Linguistic Circle of New York: New York 1952.

Dovid Katz, Litvish: An Atlas of Northeastern Yiddish. A Work in Progress. Available here.

Dovid Katz, Tikney takones: fragn fun yidisher stilistik [‘Amended Amendments: Issues in Yiddish Stylistics’]. Oxford Yiddish Press: Oxford 1993.  Available here.

Dovid Katz, ‘The Phonology of Ashkenazic’ in Lewis Glinert (ed), Hebrew in Ashkenaz. A Language in Exile, Oxford University Press: New York & Oxford 1993, pp 46-87.  Available here.

Dovid Katz, ‘Naye gilgulim fun alte makhloykesn: di Litvishe norme un di sikhsukhim vos arum ir’ [‘New Incarnations of Old Debates: the Lithuanian Yiddish Standard and the Relevant Debates’] in David E. Fishman (ed), Yivo bleter 2 (new series), Yivo: New York 1994, pp 205-257.  Available here.

VI: Religion

Immanuel Etkes, The Gaon of Vilna. The Man and his Image. Translated [from Hebrew] by Jeffrey M. Green. University of California Press: Berkeley 2002.  Order hereReview by Dovid Katz.

Immanuel Etkes, Rabbi Israel Salanter and the Mussar Movement. Jewish Publication Society: Philadelphia & Jerusalem 1993.  Order here.

Rabbi Yitzchak Kasnett, The World that was Lithuania. A Study of the Life and Torah Consciousness of Jews in the Towns and Villages of Lithuania and Northeastern Poland. Published by The Living Memorial at the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland. Distributed by Menorah Publications: New York 1997.

Alan Nadler, The Faith of the Mithnagdim. Rabbinic Responses to Hasidic Rapture. Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore & London 1997.  Order here.

Wolf Zeev Rabinowitsch, Lithuanian Hasidism from its Beginnings to the Present Day. With a forward by Simon Dubnow. Translated from the Hebrew by B. Dagut. Vallentine Mitchell: London 1970.

Shaul Stampfer, Lithuanian Yeshivas of the Nineteenth Century: Creating a Tradition of Learning. Littman Library of Jewish Civilization: London 2010.  Order here.

VII: Politics

Jack Jacobs, Bundist Counterculture in Interwar Poland. Syracuse University Press 2009.  Order here.

Nora Levin, While Messiah Tarried. Jewish Socialist Movements 1871-1917. Schocken Books: New York 1977.  Order here.

Ezra Mendelsohn, On Modern Jewish Politics. Oxford University Press: Oxford 1993.  Order here.

Henry J. Tobias, The Jewish Bund in Russia. From its Origins to 1905. Stanford University Press: Stanford 1972.  Order here.

VIII: The Lithuanian Shtetl


Yaffa Eliach, There Once was a World. A 900 Year Chronicle of the Shtetl of Eyshyshok. Little Brown: Boston 1998.

Shmarya Levin, Forward from Exile. The Autobiography of Schmarya Levin. Translated and edited by Maurice Samuel. Jewish Publication Society of America: Philadelphia 1967.

Bella Lown, Memories of my Life. A Personal History of a Lithuanian Shtetl. Pangloss Press: 1991.

Joachim Neugroschel (translator and editor), The Shtetl.  A Creative Anthology of Jewish Life in Eastern Europe. Richard Marek Publishers: New York 1979.

Diane K. Roskies and David G. Roskies, The Shtetl Book. Ktav: New York 1975.

A. S. Sachs, Worlds that Passed [Translated into English by Harold Berman with the collaboration of Judah Joffe]. Jewish Publication Society of America: Philadelphia.

Mark Zborowski and Elizabeth Herzog, Life is with People. The Culture of the Shtetl. Schocken Books: New York 1980.

IX: Yiddish Literature

in preparation



X: Hebrew Literature

in preparation


XI: Litvak Art


Susan Tumarkin Goodman (ed), Russian Jewish Artists in a Century of Change 1890-1990. Prestel: Munich & New York 1995.

Vilma Gradinskaite, Litvak Art. Litvak Art in Private Lithuanian Collections. Lewben Art Foundation, Lithuanian Expatriate Art Foundation, Jerusalem of the North (Vilnius 2015).

Vilma Grad (Gradinskaite), www.JewishArt.lt.

Benjamin Harshav, Marc Chagall and his Times. A Documentary Narrative. Stanford University Press: Stanford 2004.

Benjamin Harshav (ed), Marc Chagall. On Art and Culture. Stanford University Press: Stanford 2003.

Alexander Kantsedikas (text and commentary) and Abram Efros (introduction), Semyon An-sky. The Jewish Artistic Heritage. RA: Moscow 1994.

Franz Landsberger, A History of Jewish Art. Union of American Hebrew Congregations: Cincinnati 1946.

Claire Le Foll, L’école artistique de Vitebsk (1897-1923).

Yitskhok Luden, Perl fun ganeydn. Vegn kunst un vegn kinstler. Leyvik farlag: Tel Aviv 1988.

Nadine Nieszawer, Marie Boye, Paul Fogel, Jewish Painters in Paris 1905-1939. Preface by Claude Lanzmann. Editions Denoel: Paris 2000.

XII: Litvak Folksong and Music


Anthology of Yiddish Folksongs. 7 vols. Magnes Press, Hebrew University: Jerusalem  1983-2004.

Y. L. Cahan, Yidishe folkslider mit melodyes [Yiddish Folksongs with Melodies]. Edited by Max Weinreich.  Yivo Institute for Jewish Research: New York 1957.

S. M. Ginsburg and P. S. Marek, Yiddish Folksongs in Russia [image reprint of the St Petersburg 1901 edition].  Bar-Ilan University Press: Tel Aviv 1991.

Abraham Z. Idelsohn, Jewish Music in its Historical Development. Schocken Books: New York 1967 (Dover Publications 1992 etc).

Menke Katz, Yiddish Folksongs of the Litvaks. Posthumous compilation currently in progress based on Menke Katz’s Gezang far der zumer-program, prepared in 1985 and available here in manuscript; keyed-in text with side-by-side original and Latin-letter transcription, titled Gezang-bukh fun Menke Katz. Menke Katz’s Song Book, 2009, available here.

Eleanor Gordon Mlotek, Mir trogn a gezang. The New Book of Yiddish Song. Workmen’s Circle Education Dept: New York 1989.

Eleanor Gordon Mlotek, Songs of Generations. New Pearls of Yiddish Song. Jewish Book Center of the Workmen’s Circle: New York 2004.

Chana Mlotek and Mark Slobin, Yiddish Folksongs from the Ruth Rubin Archive. Wayne State University Press 2007.

Ruth Rubin, Voices of a People. The Story of Yiddish Folksong. Second edition. University of Illinois Press: Chicago 2000.

XIII: The Holocaust in Litvak Lands

Note: See also the Reading List on the Lithuanian Holocaust.

Yitzhak Arad, The Holocaust in the Soviet Union. University of Nebraska: Lincoln & Yad Vashem: Jerusalem 2009, 701 pp.  Order here.

David Bankier, Expulsion and Extermination. Holocaust Testimonials from Provincial Lithuania, Yad Vashem 2012, 300 pp. Order here.

Martin Dean, Collaboration in the Holocaust: Crimes of the Local Police in Belorussia and Ukraine, 1941-44. Palgrave Macmillan: 2003.

David E. Fishman, The Book Smugglers: Partisans, Poets, and the Race to Save Jewish Treasures from the Nazis. ForeEdge: 2017.

David Gaunt, Collaboration and Resistance during the Holocaust: Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. Peter Lang: Bern 2004.

Martin Gilbert, The Holocaust. HarperCollins: 1989.

Leyb Koniuchovsky, The Lithuanian Slaughter of its Jews. The testimonies from 141 Jewish survivors of the Holocaust in Lithuania, recorded by LEyb Koniuchowsky, in Displaced Persons’ camps (1946-1948). Translated by Dr. Jonathan Boyarin. Published by David Solly Sandler, 2020. Order here.

Dov Levin, ‘World War II, the Holocaust and the Jewish Survivors’ = pp 187-247 in his The Litvaks. A Short History of the Jews in Lithuania. Yad Vashem: Jerusalem 2000.  Order here.

Joseph Levinson (ed), The Shoah (Holocaust) in Lithuania. Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum: Vilnius 2006.  Order here.

Rachel Margolis, Partisan from Vilna [memoir]. With an introduction by Professor Antony Polonsky. Afterword by Marjorie Margolis. Academic Studies Press: Boston 2010.  Order here.

Frederic P. Miller, Agnes F. Vandome, John McBrewster (eds), Occupation of Estonia by Nazi Germany: Nazi Germany, Estonia in World War II, National Committee of the Republic of Estonia, The Holocaust in Estonia, History of the Jews in Estonia. Alphascript Publishing: 2009.

Bernhard Press, The Murder of the Jews in Latvia. 1941-1945. Northwestern University Press: Evanston 2000.

Kazimierz Sakowicz, Ponary Diary 1941-1943.  A Bystander’s Account of a Mass Murder. Edited by Yitzhak Arad. Preface by Rachel Margolis [rediscoverer of the manuscript and publisher of the original Polish edition of 1999].  Yale University Press: New Haven & London 2005.  Order hereElectronic edition.

Karen Sutton, The Massacre of the Jews of Lithuania. Lithuanian Collaboration in the Final Solution 1941-1944. Gefen Publishing House: Jerusalem & New York 2008.  Order here.

Isaac Zibuts et al, The Sounds of Silence. Traces of Jewish Life in Lithuania. Preface by Dovid Katz: ‘The Sounds of Silence of Jewish Lithuania’. R. Paknio Leidykla: Vilnius 2009. Order here. Preface available here.

Efraim Zuroff, Operation Last Chance: One Man’s Quest to Bring Nazi Criminals to Justice. Palgrave Macmillan: New York & Basingstoke 2009. Order here.

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